Title: Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix
Author: J. K. Rowling
Publishing House: Scholastic
Number of pages: 870
Type of cover: Paperback
Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix is the fifth book in the famous series written by J. K. Rowling, after Harry Potter And The Philosopher’s Stone, Harry Potter And The Chamber Of Secrets, Harry Potter And The Prizoner Of Azkaban and Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire, which concentrates on the events that are preceding the Second Wizarding War.
Harry Potter, the boy who lived, returns to Hogwarts, but not before spending some time at the location of The Order Of The Phoenix, a secret organization founded by Albus Dumbledore long before Harry was born, meant to fight against Voldemort. Among the members of the order are his godfather, the Weasleys, Albus (of course), Moody, Lupin and Snape. In fact, the members are most of the characters that we met during the previous volumes.
Harry is on the verge of being expelled from Hogarts because of the Patronus spell he had cast when the dementors attacked him and Dudley and, beside that, he hasn’t received useful information from Ron and Hermione regarding what’s happening. But worst of all, after getting back to school, he finds out that the new defence against the dark arts teacher is none other that one of the judges in the court in which his case was discussed. He feels more and more like nobody admits that he is capable of some wonderful things, like everything he did until now, every time he managed to fight against Voldemort passes unseen. And with every mistake he and the others are making, the Dark Lord is gaining more power and is closer to reaching his goal.
The plot becomes much darker than in the previous books. In fact, I have the impression that this is the volume which marks the passing from a children’s novel to an adults novel. The start of the transfomation was in Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire, when Cedric Diggory encountered his unfortunate destiny, but this volume is definitely darker. Harry’s visions start to become more and more accentuated, more and more real, and his connection to Voldemort seems to be even stronger. He finds out about this profecy made by Professor Trelawney, and he starts to realize his purpose in all this war. Things that until now had no sense start to come out.
This time, Harry, as well as Hermione and Ron are more mature, more aware and, of course, more powerful. Harry starts, at the suggestion of Hermione, a DADA course with his classmates to compensate the useless classes offered by Professor Umbridge. The attending is confirmed by a form signed by everybody which, of course, was jinxed by Hermione so that anyone who tells Umbridge about their classes will not have a very pretty future.
The events are starting to be more and more intense, characters come, characters go. It made me remember about Trelawney’s profecy. If thirteen people are sitting at a table, the first two to be rising will be the first to die. At first it seemd to be just a silly superstition. But is it? Reading this books, I learned that what she sais is neither a superstition nor silly. In fact, I had a revelation while searching for information about Voldemort. If you remember, in Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire she made some foreseeing in regards to Harry:
‘I was saying that Saturn was surely in a position of power in the heavens at the moment of your birth… your dark hair… your mean stature… tragic losses so young in life… I think I am right in saying, my dear, that you were born in mid-winter?Chapter 13, Mad-Eye Moody – Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire
So, everything seems to point to Harry, except the month he was born in. I mean, he was born on the 31st of July, in the middle of the summer. So what is it about this profecy? Well, if we document a bit, we find out that Tom Riddle Junior (a.k.a. Voldemort) also had dark hair, mean stature and, moreover, lost his parents when he was young. His father abandoned him and his mother died hours after his birth. And moreover, he was born on the 31st of December. Mid winter. Now what do we know about Harry? Well, he is the horcrux Voldemort never wanted to make, meaning that part of his soul is inside Harry. So what if Trelawney actually sensed his spirit?
I also noted the importance of the number seven in the Harry Potter world. Harry is born in the seventh month of the year, 17 is the age when you become an adult, Voldemort indended to make seven horcruxes and, of course, there are exactly seven months between the birth month of Tom Riddle Jr. and Harry Potter. Also, I would also find a signification in the fact that Harry is born in the middle of the year and Tom Riddle at the end of the year. Harry symbolises the present, while Voldemort symbolises the past. Voldemort is born at the end of the year as he is at the end of his war, at the end of his powers and at the end of his influence. He is no longer that handsome, charismatic boy who used to fool everybody. He is now dark and feared, and people know that they should fight against him.
The action starts to be more intense when various Death Eaters are released from prison, including Belatrix Lestrange, Sirius’s cousin from the “noble and most ancient house of Black”. A woman who chose the dark path just because she was evil, because she liked darkness, in contrast to her relatives that chose darkness because they thought it was only about the pure blood ideology. She has a deep admiration for Voldemort, even in love I would say, so she tries to do her best to make him happy and fulfill his orders.
In my opinion, Belatrix Lestrange has her correspondent at Hogwarts in Professor Dolores Umbridge, who is the same as evil. She has the habbit of torturing her students just because she has the power, and she does whatever she can to prove that she is stronger, even when people prove her wrong. No wonder Fred and George Weasley always try to make fun of her and destroy the so called power she has, making a fool out of her every time they can. Her own name sends to a dreadful person, making a refference to the word umbrage which, according to the Oxford Dictionary, it means offence or annoyance. According to the same source, the word can be found in the Late Middle English and is derived from the Latin word umbra, which means ‘shadow’. An early sense was ‘shadowy outline’, giving rise to ‘ground for suspicion’, just like Umbridge is always suspicios of doing something outrageous.
I have told you before that this book is a passing from children’s book to adult’s book. It is also evident from the importance of Quiditch in this volume. Harry no longer is a key point in Quidditch, but in fight. His place in Quidditch is given to people who really needed it at this point, and he starts to play another form of Quidditch: the war. In the game, people score goals and knock themselves down, while in battle people gain advantage thanks to some actions or pieces of information (scoaring goals) and kill their opponents (knock them down). In the game, seeker’s purpose is to catch the golden snitch, and only one can be the winner. In the fight, Harry and Voldemort are the two seekers. They seek one another and each one needs to eliminate the other, cause it can only be one winner.
Now getting back to some more cheerful things, love starts to flourish in this volume. Harry and Cho start to be closer and closer, and their relationship starts to emerge after one of the DADA classes Harry is offering. But they are both unexperienced, so their love goes up and down, takes turns and comes back, and they must learn to also offer before requesting, they must learn to understand their feelings and make them bloom.
On the other side, Ginny starts a relationship with Michael Corner from the house of Ravenclaw, although there is no great importance given to this fact, as all the actions revolve around Harry. We even find out information at the same time Harry does, so it is actually pretty normal that their relationship is not quite in the spotlight.
I still find it incredible how good J.K.Rowling wrote the books, with so many references, so many connections between chapters and even volumes and with so many subtleties, which honestly I haven’t encountered in another author’s writing. I would give a ten to this series whenever I would read it.
Interesting facts I have found out about this volume:
- accoding to bmj.com, the number of children reaching the ER actually decreesed after the release of Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix and Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince
- The typing in Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix is half a point smaller than in the rest of the books, meaning it’s even longer than it looks
- In Harry Potter And The Goblet Of Fire Fred and George joke about Percy betraying the Wesley’s in favor of the Ministry of Magic, and in Harry Potter And The Order of the Phoenix he actually does that.
My favourite quote of this book:
A slightly stunned silence greeted the end of this speech, then Ron said: “One person can’t feel all that at once, they’d explode.”Chapter 21 – The Eye Of The Snake
“Just because you’ve got the emotional range of a teaspoon doesn’t mean we all have,” said Hermione nastily, picking up her quill again.”